Greenwich designer’s confidant valuables creates a statement

  • Deborah Armstrong creates valuables pieces, like this cuff, regulating semiprecious stones and minerals. Photo: Contributed Photos



Deborah Armstrong slides her fingers solemnly conflicting a discriminating mill and smiles.“Women adore this to wear with their black dresses,” she says, “and it looks fanciful with pink. we sell a lot of it.”

Armstrong is an award-winning jeweler and a mill she is caressing is a transparent quartz with black lines zig-zagging by it. She is in a bare-bones studio (the residence is staged for sale) in her backcountry home in Greenwich. In a possess wing distant from a rest of a house, a studio feels like a sauna in a building (actually, it’s on a second floor). All a artifacts of her trade are tucked into cupboard drawers above and next a smooth, wooden conflicting tip that blankets one whole wall.

At initial glance, a sheer ambience of a room lacks any dot of laughter until we view a quartz necklace. It’s laid out on a block of card tucked into a dilemma on a work counter. There are other identical necklaces of gradated quartz on a cardboard, as good as dual labradorite necklaces that shine underneath beyond lights. Each necklace is delicately organised on strips of gummy fasten so Armstrong can position them accurately as she configures a pattern and creates any changes but a stones shifting around. At a tip right dilemma of a house is a ripped frame of paper, about double a distance of a quarter, on that is drawn a prudent pencil blueprint of a quartz necklace.

“I mostly make sketches first,” says Armstrong, who creates intricately patterned argent china and 18K bullion valuables embedded with semiprecious stones and minerals of any tone and distance imaginable. “I need to see where to make a joints, where a bezels are, a length, a shepherd’s offshoot during a behind and where to clear a square so it lays easily on a neck.”

Armstrong began offered her valuables pieces in 1996. Before that, her artistic impulses took her on a circuitous, adventuresome track from Hollywood sci-fi films to a some-more useful area of advertising. At first, she combined wardrobes for “All in a Family” and after crafted out-of-this-world models for George Lucas’ special effects firm. That led to engineering fantastical characters populating a scenes in “Star Wars” and to modifying “Battlestar Gallactica.” A anomalous trail landed her in a high-paced rafters of promotion — not her elite mode of being.

Itchy for a some-more fluent outlay of her talents, Armstrong incited to valuables making, study with master jeweler Cecelia Bauer and during a Parsons School of Design. She picked adult classes during a 92nd Street Y in New York and during Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan.

“I like jewelry,” she says. A necklace, a bracelet, a ring, she explains, contend something critical about a wearer and about a civilization from that she came. All civilizations, Armstrong says, ornate a group and women they dignified with beautifully done pieces of jewelry.

Armstrong is wearing one of her creations: a vast amazonite mill surrounded by etched 18K bullion with peridot, white topaz and teal topaz on a argent china sequence with bullion accents. It’s a “look-at-me” square and really apropos with her blond tresses and 5-foot 8-inch height.

Armstrong’s opus is all about big, bold, thespian statements and is not for a gloomy of heart. At a conflicting finish of a cardboard, works-in-progress are 3 slap bracelets, for example, with outsize personalities: one with equivalent stones in druse and labradorite; another with tourmalated quartz and a pyritized ammonite hoary accent and a third with an aqua Venetian potion intaglio and a faceted hematite. All 3 cuffs have far-reaching anodized china bands with a stones anchored in a bed of 18k gold.

“I like large matter pieces,” Armstrong says but hesitation. She shows me a ring with an huge immature quartz that if we wore it, my fingers would disappear underneath a architecture. “It’s all about attitude. So many clients tell me that people stop them to admire my valuables they’re wearing. Most of my pieces, like a slap bracelets, are purchases from repeat customers.” Some of her clients embody Halle Berry, Jennifer Connelly, Faith Hill, Heidi Klum, Diane Sawyer, Marisa Tomei, Diane Von Furstenberg, Sharon Stone and Vanessa Williams.

Perhaps 200 opposite gemstones and minerals are away bagged and stored in a drawers. Their names review like a catalog from a gem uncover in Tucson, Ariz., that Armstrong creates an bid to attend any year: onyx, moonstone, labradorite (her favorite), druse, turquoise, hematite, chalcedony, carnelian, aquamarine, etc. In one bottom drawer are a collection of her trade: pliers, crimpers, cutters and bezel setter.

Armstrong mostly works during a second work surface. Set in a center of a room, it’s an huge turn teak list with large legs whose potion tip protects a sculpture chiseled into a list top. It is eerily utterly in a room yet occasionally, Armstrong will tide some jazz on her mechanism while she works. If her husband, screenwriter Jon Connolly, needs to call her, a cellphone is substantially a easiest approach to strech her.

Armstrong sells her pieces (ranging from $125 to $5,000) online or by art shows all over a country, from California to Florida and from Connecticut (Westport and Stamford) to a Chautauqua Institute in New York. Always rarely encouraged and idea oriented — “Other kids any brought home one prohibited pad they done in summer camp, we brought home 50,” she offers as an instance of her expostulate — she never misses a day crafting her work.

“It’s an act of love,” Armstrong says.

Rosemarie T. Anner is a visit writer to a Sunday Arts Style.

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